RICHMOND, Maine (NEWS CENTER) The people who live in a trailer park in Richmond will be staying at an Augusta motel tonight, after the town told them to move out. The Richmond Utilities District shut down the Meadowbrook Park water system earlier this week because it was leaking so much water. Then the town shut down the sewer system, because it was leaking raw sewage into a stream. The town Code Officer says the problems created unsanitary conditions. Residents say they are the latest in a long series of problems, and that the park's owner refused to make repairs. Both the town and the state Manufactured Housing Board say the owner has told them he can't afford to make repairs. So residents are paying for the work themselves, and say they will deduct the cost from next month's rent.
However, Park resident John Wilson says the problems go much deeper than the current water and sewer issues. Wilson says he was asked to manage the park after he moved in last year, but eventually found a long list of complain s from state and local agencies covering many years. Wilson says he also discovered many former managers, maintenance workers and contractors who said the owner owed them money. The Richmond Utilities District says park owner Russell Edwards owes more than $20,000, and the town says it is owed about $15,000 in back taxes. Wilson says he had once hoped to buy the trailer park and fix it up, so he spent thousands of dollars of his own money on repairs to some of the trailers. Wilson says he has changed his mind, has formed the Richmond Tenants Association, and is hoping to buy some of the trailers and create a new park in another part of town.
The Maine Manufactured Housing Board, which oversees trailer parks, says it has made repeated visits to the park over the past month, and will hold a hearing on the problems May 7.